Monday, November 26, 2012

Fabricant Files: A New Pact for 2015

Back in August Guido pointed out that

“the Cameroons like to remind the disgruntled Tory right of a simple bit of coalition electoral arithmetic: Tories on 34% + LibDems on 8% = 42%, just about enough to form a government again in 2015. Well UKIP have been also been polling between 6% to 10% for over a year now. If those right-of-centre voters could be brought back into the Conservative Party embrace they would have a good chance of forming a majority government. UKIP have no MPs in Westminster under first past the post, they do however have plenty of voters for Westminster elections.”

The Indy’s John Rentoul said Guido was mad. Today his paper is front paging a report written by Mike Fabricant, the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for Campaigns, making the same case for a Tory-UKIP pact:

Guido also reported Charles Tannock MEP producing a briefing note making similar points last month.  Increasingly Tory MPs see activists, especially young activists, shifting their allegiance to UKIP. Without the boundary review and a rapprochement with UKIP voters the Tories are going to lose in some 20 seats – unnecessarily. Downing Street is kidding itself if it believes Andrew Cooper’s claims that UKIP votes are going to melt away at the general election…

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Definitive Election Night Guide

Staying up for the long night ahead? Then’ll you need to know what to look out for and when the key results will come in.

Here is your definitive print out and check off guide to Election Night 2012

Courtesy of Jag Singh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ERS Shun Hand Count PCC Elections

Back during the great AV debate of 2011 Guido brought you the news that the Electoral Reform Society owns Electoral Reform Services, the market leader in manufacturing vote counting software. Guido wondered at the time whether the £250 million worth of electronic voting machines run by ERS Ltd had anything to do with the ERS’ support for AV…

Now the ERS have published a paper criticising the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Apparently low turnout means the elections will be completely unrepresentative, with chief executive Katie Ghose asking: “what is the point of having them?

In other news, the PCC election ballot papers will be counted by hand rather than with ERS Ltd’s machines. Perhaps the ERS only supports elections when they stand to make a profit…

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 2015 New Coalition

Cameroons like to remind the disgruntled Tory right of a simple bit of coalition electoral arithmetic: Tories on 34% + LibDems on 8% = 42%, just about enough to form a government again in 2015. Well UKIP have been also been polling between 6% to 10% for over a year now. If those right-of-centre voters could be brought back into the Conservative Party embrace they would have a good chance of forming a majority government. UKIP have no MPs in Westminster under first past the post, they do however have plenty of voters for Westminster elections.

During the 2010 general election readers of this blog raised over £15,000 to “Get Balls Out” by supporting the Tory candidate in Morley & Outwood. On election night Balls survived by a mere thousand or so votes, fewer votes than the UKIP candidate received. UKIP HQ called Guido on the night and said if they had known it was going to be so close they would have stood their candidate down. Perhaps a formal pre-election pact is politically impossible. However the Eurozone is likely to fall apart in the near future, new arrangements will be put in place by the EU radically altering the existing structure. On that basis the government will be entitled to bring the EU referendum promised by both governing parties. If the LibDems refuse to countenance a referendum the Conservatives need only to promise an immediate referendum within a year of the general election to bring about an implicit electoral pact with UKIP.

If you think this is improbable you could be surprised. The Conservative Party’s main internal Thatcherite pressure group, Conservative Way Forward, has quietly changed its constitution to allow UKIP members to join. The unhappy experience of coalition with the LibDems has opened the eyes of many on the Tory right to the electoral logic of coalition with UKIP. Dan Hannan isn’t the only one who wants it to happen

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Labour Lost London the Day they Chose Ken
Why Didn’t Labour Choose Oona?

Months before Labour selected a candidate for Mayor of London, Guido chatted with a senior City Hall Tory politico, asking him who he really preferred to fight; Oona or Ken? Without hesitating he said “Oona so long as Ken stands as an independent again. If not, Ken”. He got his wish…

That was a real fear for Labour. If Ken wasn’t their candidate, he would still be a candidate. The Labour machine could have selected Oona if it really wanted. It didn’t kick into action against his cynically parasitical organisation. Not because Ken outwitted them, it was because they feared a rogue Ken again, be in no doubt that if the Labour establishment and Labour HQ really wanted they could have stopped Ken being their chosen candidate. Implicit blackmail by Ken when Labour was reeling from losing the general election got him the candidacy.

Labour will spin and blame it on a ruthlessly negative Lynton Crosby campaign, and in many ways it was a classic, however it was only workable because Ken has so many negatives to mine. That type of campaign could not have been run against Oona. She is too fresh, too funky London and too centrist. Labour lost London they day they succumbed to Ken’s blackmail.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Election Results

Going to stay up have a few drinks, watch the politicians make excuses and go to bed before the results are in.

Feel free to amuse yourself and mock the afflicted in the comments. Expect it to be a 1000 seat gain for Labour. Guido expects a very bad night for LibDems and moderately bad for Tories…

Only big bet Guido had was on the Tories coming second in the Leicester South by-election. Some dosh on the SNP giving Labour a kicking in Scotland. Will lose a few quid on the AV vote due to being a bit too clever and trying to buy a Yes bounce. It never came…

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Selecting the Checks and Balances

The post-election jamboree roles on. Despite the flurry of activity over the close of Labour leadership nominations, today’s Select Committee Chairman elections are not to be ignored. ConHome has the most comprehensive coverage.

Given any LibDem with an ounce of talent, and plenty lacking even that, are now in government, it came as no surprise that the two committees allocated to them were uncontested and two old timers Beith and Bruce are now running the hugely significant International Development and Justice Committees.

On the Labour side some old faces are still refusing to retire with any dignity they might have left. Slimey Keith Vaz is up for re-election as Home Affairs Chairman and absurdly received backing from Tim Montgomerie and Will Straw. Vaz has shamefully abused his position on that committee. There are some fairly underwhelming candidates for the other posts. The most significant committees and tight races are on the blue side.

A combination of a some fiercely independent candidates, a right-wing troublemakers slate and frankly some appalling nominations will make for an intriguing fight today. Carswell at Defence will put the fear of God in to the MOD and can only liven things up.  The defence manfacturers have let down the armed forces (and taxpayers) for decades. Carswell is the man with a mission to put that right.

Nadine has an outside shot at Health and is attempting to convince the Labour MPs that her views on abortion do not outweigh her NHS experience. She has got an impressive range on cross-party support for such a Marmite-figure. She would liven things up considerably.

Guido has made his views perfectly clear on why Tim Yeo’s financial interests render him completely unsuitable for the Energy job and thankfully he has a challenger in the cheapest MP, staff-less Philip Hollobone. Whether MPs will side with the parties and all those investment opportunities or the more humble man remains to be seen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Getting Real : The Change Coalition (Part II)

A few weeks ago Guido asked a CCHQ insider privy to strategy “What is the negotiating strategy with the LibDems?  Is it true Matthew Hancock is in charge of the strategy?” He laughed “the joke of the negotiation strategy is that there isn’t one. If we lose narrowly we’ll leave it up to Clegg to either support Labour or stand alone.  Go on to fight a second election and hope to win more comfortably.”

What, Guido asked, if the differential is big? “Don’t be f***ing stupid.”

That LibDem negotiation strategy might be a higher priority nowadays. Hancock is the Tory PPC for West Suffolk and formerly George Osborne’s chief-of-staff, Cleggmania means the problem now has the attention of those above his pay grade.  Last Sunday Guido sketched out a potential May 7 scenario, Tim Montgomerie was horrified, the feedback Guido got was more mixed – mostly it was sceptical based on contact with the LibDem grassroots.  Left Foot Forward editor Will Straw mirrored Tim Montgomerie, telling Guido in Dimbley’s green room that it was just not going to happen, the LibDems were “progressives”. Well that is a pretty meaningless term, it has even been borrowed by the Cameroons for their agenda.  The confusion in the ranks of Labour and Tory true believers is based on the experience of contact with Libdem activists, many of whom are way to the left of Blairites.  The parliamentary party is not by and large left wing - it is centrist.

Clegg and the people around him are not of the left, Vince Cable is, but he is the exception.  The Orange bookers and the Cameroons share key liberal ideological tenets – localism, decentralisation, transparency and a preference for market based solutions.  On the need for “savage cuts” in government spending, accelerated deficit reduction and NHS reform the LibDems have been more honest than the Tories.  Most Tories can live with LibDem manifesto commitments on tax (apart from the enterprise killing capital gains hike). They are singing from the same fiscal policy hymn-sheet.

There are real areas of discordance, in particular defence and foreign policy.  Here the LibDems betray their liberal radicalism, Clegg is desperately trying to square grassroots weirdie-beardie antipathy to anything nuclear with being in the government of a UN security council member and nuclear power.  Letting the Tories have primacy on defence and foreign policy and the LibDems have primacy on home affairs, localism and open government is the most likely compromise. It would also broadly reflect the electorate’s wishes.

We have come a long way in the last 7 days, the well connected chronicler of the Cameroons Matthew D’Ancona now says get real it is on the cards, Cameron tells the Observer the door is open and One of the keys is the people who are liberal with a small L, Clegg tells the Sunday Times that “You can’t have Gordon Brown squatting in No 10″, Mandelson warns voters that flirtation with Clegg might lead to a Cameroon marriage.  The public  on the other hand always love a big wedding.  The bookies make a hung parliament the strong favourite outcome with a 60% probability and give the Tories only a 37% chance of forming a majority governmentChange is definitely coming and it will probably be in the form of a coalition…

See also : The Change Coalition

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Change Coalition

Imagine it is the afternoon of May 7…

The Tories have received 33% of the popular vote, LibDems 29% and Labour 24%, a strong 6% showing by the BNP concentrated in Labour heartlands has shocked the political system and given the party its first Westminster MP in Stoke, where Labour’s vote split. UKIP’s Nigel Farage has taken Buckingham, after two recounts, by 7 votes.  Ed Balls has lost his Morley and Outwood seat to the Tory hero of election night, Antony Calvert.  The SNP has made strong gains strengthening Alex Salmond’s claims for Scotland to be granted more self determination.

Due to the iniquities of the electoral system Labour is still the largest party in Westminster, just.  Harriet Harman has demanded Gordon Brown resigns and announced her intention to seek the leadership, Miliband hasn’t been seen. Charlie Whelan publicly tweets blame on Mandelson’s electoral strategy and “corrupt Blairites” for Labour’s defeat.  Alastair Campbell is bailed at West London Magistrates’ Court after his live on-screen 3 a.m. drunken assault on Nick Robinson.

After unofficial back-channel communications between Samantha Cameron and her third-cousin at Buckingham Palace all morning, the Queen’s Private Secretary calls the leader of the Conservative Party and asks him to come to the palace.  The Private Secretary then calls Nick Clegg and asks him to come to the palace as well.

In what is the iconic picture of the election, Cameron walks out of his Millbank headquarters along the Thames embankment to 4 Cowley Street where Nick Clegg greets him and together they walk purposefully towards the Mall surrounded by photographers and cameramen as crowds cheer and many ask “which one is which?”

In what were reportedly good natured discussions all morning the terms of a “Change Coalition” had been agreed by 3 pm.  Clegg as expected is Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, Cable is Chancellor, Osborne takes his old sparring partner’s job at Business. Phil Hammond and David Laws are tasked with cutting spending and reforming taxation at the Treasury.  Lord Adonis remains as the government’s Transport Minister, Frank Field returns to the Department for Work and Pensions, both take the Liberal whip. Chris Huhne, ominously for the coalition, chooses to go to the backbench rather than accept cabinet collective responsibility as Defence Minister.

The most difficult horse-trading over the coalition was of course over Europe and electoral reform. Hague went to the FCO much to the relief of the Tory base and Ed Davey becomes the cabinet’s Minister for Constitutional Reform (Douglas Carswell gets a promotion as his deputy with special responsiblity for localism).   The leaders realised that they could not take their respective parties with them if they compromised on either of these two issues.

The average age of the cabinet is now 44, the centre-piece of the Queen’s speech is to be a Great Repeal Bill, undoing 13 years of authoritarian legislation and strengthening civil liberties, restricting the growth of the surveillance and database society. The Big Society reform programme promises to fundamentally re-balance state and society in favour of a smaller more open government.  Cable promises an emergency budget within 30 days signalling tough action on the deficit.  The gilt market hits a 3 year high and the pound rallies 12% on the close.

Norman Tebbit, who was by her bedside, blogs the sad news that Baroness Thatcher has passed away.  Her last words were “Norman, they buried the Labour Party before me.”

Punters on Politics Smarkets says there is a 56% chance of a hung parliament

Monday, April 12, 2010

Over-Spending Socialists Crushed in Elections

This situation maybe familiar: an over-spending left-of-centre government faces election, the centre-right opposition offers a promise of tax cuts and free market reforms to bring economic growth to a country which is on the verge of bankruptcy.

In Hungary overnight Fidesz have swept the socialists out of office winning 52% of the vote to the ruling party’s 19%.

The Fidesz party logo is an orange smiley face and this morning the smile is very broad…

Guido fact: Back in 1988 Fidesz were a little known rag-tag bunch of idealistic libertarian students under threat of arrest from the communists. The great David Hart, fresh from smashing Scargill’s thugs, channeled support to them from the West. Within a year Hungarian communism fell and Fidesz were in government. Another reason to recognise David Hart with an honour.

Seen Elsewhere

Short-Termism of CCHQ | ConHome
May Aide: CCHQ Are Being Misleading | Telegraph
Tories Planning For Second Election | Guardian
We Are Losing Cyber War | Fraser Nelson
Osborne Aide Lands Pay Rise | Mirror
The Sick Of It | Sun
UKIP MEP’s Welfare Hypocrisy | Channel 4
Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome
Clodagh’s Law | Press Gazette
Whitehall Bosses Ban Christmas | Sun


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The Economist asks Tony Blair about Wendi Deng:

“Mr Blair roundly denies any impropriety. Asked whether he was (at least) careless about his reputation, he says calmly that it is “not something I will ever talk about—I haven’t and I won’t”, and then bangs his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps. But did he find himself in a tangle over his friendship with Ms Deng? A large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt. Even Mr Blair’s close friends acknowledge that the saga damaged him—not least financially, since Mr Murdoch stopped contributing to Mr Blair’s faith foundation and cut him off from other friendly donors in America.”


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